Jon Favreau, Obama’s speechwriter aged 27

LAST UPDATED AT 09:54 ON Tue 20 Jan 2009

Barack Obama's first address as president owed much to his 27-year-old speechwriter Jon Favreau, a man the new Commander-in-Chief says can read his mind. Although an accomplished writer himself, Obama relied on ‘Favs’, as he is known, to compose the high notes of the oration, which was heard and watched by billions across the world.

Obama discovered Favreau - not to be mistaken with the actor of the same name who appeared in the film Swingers - four years ago when he was working on John Kerry's failed presidential bid. Since then, the young man has made an intensive study of Obama. According to the Guardian, he carries Obama's autobiography, Dreams From My Father, wherever he goes and has mastered Obama’s loping speech patterns and cadences to the degree that he can deliver a pitch-perfect impersonation of his boss. As a result, when Favreau sat down to write the first draft of the inaugural address, he became nothing less than a "little me" version of the President-elect.
David Axelrod, Obama's senior advisor, says of Favreau: "Barack trusts him... And Barack doesn't trust too many folks with that - the notion of surrendering that much authority over his own words."
It hasn't all gone swimmingly, however. In December, pictures of ‘Favs’ and a friend mocking a cardboard cut-out of Hillary Clinton, with Favreau's hand placed over her breast, were posted on Facebook, causing him huge embarrassment.

As for today's speech, nothing has been left to chance. It has shuttled between Favreau and Obama four or five times, following an initial hour-long meeting at which the speech-maker took notes on his laptop. He then went away and spent weeks on research, with his team interviewing historians and speech writers. Only after this prep, did he take up residence in his local Starbucks and write the first draft.


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